As Congress prepares to reconvene following their Fourth of July recess, another stimulus package will be the topic of debate. With major discussions likely to surround a controversial second stimulus check, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the Senate will be considering a relief package aimed at "kids, jobs, and health care."
Speaking with reporters during a news conference on Tuesday, McConnell said that, "what I can tell you, without fear of contradiction, is the focus will be kids, jobs, and health care." McConnell added that "any bill that passes the Senate" would also contain liability protections "for everyone… everybody who interacted with this pandemic," according to WHIO TV. Stating that it is "extremely important" to include protections for those who have lost their jobs amid the coronavirus pandemic, McConnell explained that beginning such discussions in July would allow the Senate to "take an assessment of the economy and the progress we're making on the health care front."
McConnell did not, however, comment on whether or not an additional round of stimulus payments would be part of another relief bill. The first round of economic impact payments had been passed under the CARES Act, which was signed into law by President Donald Trump in late March. Now several months into the pandemic, and with almost all of the first payments having been distributed, there have been conflicting statements from lawmakers regarding the need for further direct financial relief to Americans.
With coronavirus cases again rising and unemployment levels still resting at uncomfortable highs, some have argued that Americans are still in need of assistance. Others, however, believe that any further relief packages should focus on other things, such as the topics McConnell had mentioned. There are some who have suggested that rather than offering stimulus checks, the next bill should offer back-to-work bonuses as an incentive for Americans to return to work when possible.
Congress is expected to begin discussions and negotiations on another relief package upon their return from the July 4th recess. It is believed that at this time, the Democratic-backed HEROES Act will be brought to the table. This bill seeks to provide $1,200 or $2,400 payments a second time. Other options will also likely be discussed.
An exact timeline as for when Americans can expect a final decision to be made remains unclear. It is possible that Congress may push to come to a resolution before Aug. 7, which is when the House and Senate are scheduled to recess for a full month. They will not return until mid-September, meaning that there will be just two months until the elections in November, at which time other matters could be on the table.